In the Firing Squad for Tonight’s AETN Governors Debate Among Mike Beebe, Jim Keet and Jim Lendall

AETN's video-heavy election page

AETN's video-heavy election page. Nicely done.

I’m among the panelists for today’s hour-long gubernatorial debate starring incumbent Mike Beebe (D), Jim Keet (R) and Jim Lendall (G). We tape the debate at 2 p.m. in Conway and it airs tonight at 8 p.m. on your local Arkansas Educational Television Network affiliate.

Also on tonight’s panel: Ron Breeding of NPR affiliate KUAR-FM and Bill Simmons of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I haven’t seen anyone’s questions except my own, but I expect hot topics to include jobs, the economy, health care and, more than likely, state vehicles.

Each panelist gets ask two questions, so expect six questions total, plus opening and closing statements from each of the candidates.

Today’s debate is part of a series of debates airing each weeknight this week on AETN stations as well as on KUAR. Also tonight: the Lt. Governors debate between Shane Broadway (D) and Mark Darr (R), airing at 7 p.m.. And on Wednesday, Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz is on the panel for the U.S. Senate debate, and Publisher Jeff Hankins will be part of Friday’s Attorney General debate.

You can see the full schedule of this week’s debates at AETN’s Web site here.

And speaking of that site, kudos to AETN for a solid multimedia Web effort. In its excellent debates section, you can see videos of each of the debates and conversations with voters.

Update: You can watch the full debate here.

#ARElections: Blanche Lincoln Votes and Other Scenes From Election Day in Arkansas

Above: Jason Tolbert Flipcam video of Blanche Lincoln talking to reporters outside her polling place, having just cast a provisional ballot for herself in the Democratic primary of U.S. Senate.

Above: The Gilbert Baker for U.S. Senate campaign releases this snippet of Baker’s interview, earlier today, with KATV-TV, Channel 7. Baker is battling for the No. 2 spot among a crowded field of Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate nomination. Republican voter turnout will be key for Baker in central Arkansas, particularly in his home county, Faulkner County.

Bill Halter at the polls on Election Day

Bill Halter at the polls on Election Day in North Little Rock. Photo by Gwen Moritz.

Right: Bill Halter, seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, votes early Tuesday in North Little Rock. Halter has consistently trailed Lincoln in polls, behind anywhere from 9-12 points. He’ll need to move a big batch of undecided voters into his column and hope third candidate D.C. Morrison pulls a substantial vote in order to force a runoff with incumbent Lincoln. A runoff would follow in three weeks.

12:30 p.m. Tuesday, not pictured: House Speaker Robbie Wills makes a final push in downtown Little Rock, stopping to shake hands at Your Mama’s restaurant, trailed by KARK-TV, Channel 4 cameras. Wills could be in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd District congressional seat with state Sen. Joyce Elliott or David Boling.

Kim Hendren: Will Work for Votes

Kim Hendren, in this grainy Twitpic image by GOP operative Clint Reed. The sign says, "Will Work for Votes."

Right: Kim Hendren, also campaigning today for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination, in this Twitpic photo by GOP operative Clint Reed. The sign says “Will Work For Votes.”

Below: Rick Crawford, in a Twitpic photo by Today’s THV reporter Faith Abubey, campaigning today in his race for the GOP nomination for the District 1 congressional seat. Crawford faces Princella Smith, a twenty-something in her first campaign. Smith received an endorsement from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Sunday. Even still, Crawford is the favorite to win outright in this race.

Rick Crawford

Rick Crawford campaigning today for the GOP nomination for District 1. Photo by Faith Abubey.

Wal-Mart Worries in Northwest Arkansas and Has the State Jobless Rate Peaked? in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business is on the racks and the InterWebs now! Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

Gulp! Wal-Mart’s home office job cuts and a slow exodus of vendors — along with whispers about decentralized operations — has northwest Arkansans seeking new economic development engines for the region.

Is this as bad as it gets? Arkansas’ top economists think the state’s unemployment rate might have finally peaked. Still, it’s tough out there. Includes a look at how many jobs we’ve lost since 2007.

Banking on social media: Arkansas banks wade carefully into the waters of social media — and a sea of federal and industry regulations.

Let’s toot our own horn! Gwen Moritz on just how prescient Arkansas Business has been on a host of issues: banks pruning their branches and — of course — Asian carp!

Take My Loan, Please! Hocking the Barber Jewelry, Plus More Bad News at Metropolitan Bank in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Your latest edition of Arkansas Business is online now. Among this week’s highlights:

As the Federal Reserve slashes interest rates and banks heavy up on cash, there’s never been a better time to borrow. But an uncertain economy means fewer businesses are willing to take the risk, even at rates that are close to free. Sam Eifling examines the paradox.

Word ’round the campfire is that Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock is set to report another quarterly loss, this one in the $20 million range.

Welspun Pipes adds more than 40 acres to its property at the Little Rock Port.

Capsearch’s new iPhone app puts the entire Arkansas code in your pocket for $3.99. Nifty.

University of Arkansas basketball play-by-play broadcaster Mike Nail is hanging it up. He’ll be honored in some type of half-time ceremony at the end of this season, his 29th. Hm. Why not go for 30? More: This ArkansasSports360.com Q&A with Nail from December.

Keri Barber auctions the bling after her big Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed early last year declaring $16.3 million in liabilities, most of it connected to the defaulted loan on the Legacy Building in Fayetteville. Goodbye Lexus, goodbye Range Rover, goodbye Beluga sterling silver watch …

Mark Rose, only the third general manager ever at KATV-TV, Channel 7, in Little Rock, marks 20 years at the ABC affiliate.

Gwen Moritz on Julie Benafield Bowman, Sandra Hochstetter Byrd, Benton County Judge Dave Bisbee, Wal-Mart and the appearance of impropriety.

Our Heads in the Clouds, A Tour of HP in Conway & Fox 16 at 10 in Arkansas Business This Week

This week in Arkansas Business newspaper, we take a look at information technology in Arkansas, including a firm that quietly controls your every online interaction with Arkansas government:

The Arkansas Information Consortium runs Arkansas.gov and e-commerce for the state, a job it’s unlikely to give up anytime soon. We look at how they do it.

Guess what? Your operating system will be obsolete in 10 years. Where will you do your computing? On the Web, in the cloud. Mark Carter looks at the hows, pros and cons. Also: Think you’re ready for the cloud? Here’s some questions to ask yourself.

A Conway firm has launched a privacy app for your smartphone. Block unwanted calls, identify unknown callers and more.

A look inside the new HP operation in Conway.

The new news wars: Fox affiliate KLRT-TV, Channel 16 will debut its first 10 p.m. newscast next week.

Warren Stephens tells us about his print and online ad campaign for Stephens Inc., which aims to project the firm’s long-term thinking in a dicey economic environment.

KFSM-TV, Channel 5 has started a half-hour sports talks show on its digital channel. The show is hosted by veteran sports anchor Mike Irwin.

Gwen Moritz, frustrated woman, indeed.

Alltel — er, Verizon Arena, 10 Years Later, In This Week’s Arkansas Business

This week’s Arkansas Business is online now. Among the highlights:

Alltel Arena Verizon Arena marks its 10th anniversary next month and everyone from its general manager to those who helped build it consider it an unqualified success. What began with talk of cracked raker beams and postponed events and become an all-purpose facility operating happily in the black.

Gwen Moritz continues a discussion on health care reform, this time through civil discourse with a reader. The first question she answers: “Does business favor socialism?”

Former Alltel CEO Scott Ford gets into the coffee business with a brand of “tummy-friendly” java.

Here it is! A look at a 61-year-old grain brokerage in Arkansas – a family business billing itself as “the nation’s leading cash grain and soybean meal brokerage firm.”

Another contractor gets in line to be paid for work on that $30 million Welspun Pipes plant.

New CEO at PAM and Testing the Pay Model in Pine Bluff in This Week’s Arkansas Business

It’s Monday already. And that means a new edition of Arkansas Business newspaper, available now. Among the highlights:

Stephens Media will test a locked down model for online news with its Pine Bluff Commercial, Stephens President Sherman Frederick says. He says ArkansasNews.com, which aggregates news from the Stephens papers in Arkansas, might also go behind the pay wall. And — what the heck — same goes for The Morning News and the Southwest Times Record!

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette General Manager Paul Smith likes to say that “all media companies supported by advertising are struggling.” But he’s wrong! Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins says ABPG is doing just fine, thank you. Don’t lump niche publishers in with struggling daily newspapers.

A conversation with Daniel A. Cushman, the new CEO of PAM Transportation Services Inc. of Tontitown. First steps to turning around the struggling trucking firm include fixing its fractured brand, restructuring some of its internal functions and diversifying its revenue stream.

And speaking of trucking, in case you haven’t heard, the recession hasn’t been kind.

Don’t believe everything you read in the paper! Gwen Moritz doesn’t. She picks apart a recent Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story on mortgage holders in Arkansas who are underwater and finds there’s much more to it than first meets the eye.

Two northwest Arkansas firms have developed applications for Apple’s iPhone: IFWorld Inc. of Fayetteville and Rockfish Interactive of Rogers.

Our cousin, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, announces its latest 40 Under 40 class.

Adding to the lending turmoil in northwest Arkansas: the increased comings and goings of banking executives in the region. Some job changes were amicable, while others were anything but. George Waldon watches the revolving doors.